hey madi, i'm here with one of your award reviews! ^_^
confession time - i love the malfoy family. i love draco, i love narcissa and i love lucious even though they all did bad and/or evil things during the course of the books. narcissa has always been the most impressive - i don't think any other character would've had the courage to just like...LIE TO THE DARK LORD IN HIS FACE just to have a chance at saving her son. so to go from her act alone to believe that everything lucius and she did was for their family, for their son (and okay, obviously they were ambitious as hell so they also did it for power at first) is not a stretch to believe, at least not to me.
lucius' justifications of his actions sound to me like even he has a hard time believing them sometimes - the repetition of the line that he wasn't an evil man was the one that talks magnitudes about his personality and actions. i can understand his reasoning - he was depressed (?) when he joined the death eaters and honestly...the spiral of that into what we see in the books seems quite plausible. i think he wanted to have something that would help him with his sadness and anger at not being able to have another child and this seemed convenient, it gave him power and control over something. until it didn't. until he saw voldy for what he truly was. but by that point he was in way too deep and the only thought he had was to protect his family and himself.
i think you did a nice job exploring lucius' character and the narrative format without any dialogue was interesting to read. it was almost like reading a biography. and even without dialogue you still manage to tell us everything we need to know, which is really cool!
Hello! I am finally here to leave you a review for entering my challenge. :) I'm going to start by listing the things that really stuck out to me.
I liked how you repeated the line "Lucius Malfoy wasn't an evil man." The repetition made it feel like Lucius was trying to convince himself that he wasn't evil, like the guilt had gotten to him and he was trying to fight it. And honestly, that bit is what made him the most sympathetic to me. Because he did terrible things and there's no denying that. But if he felt guilty about those things--so guilty that he almost replays them in his mind over and over, trying to convince others that he's not evil--that means he has a soul and he wants to make reparations. That's powerful.
I also liked the explanation of why he pursued Narcissa--that she wasn't as harsh as Bella and she hadn't abandoned her "family ideals" like Andromeda. It was totally believable. I think she brings out a softer side to him and I like your interpretation that he did what he did to protect his family's good name and to try to bring them power. I agree that he didn't realize what he was getting into when he agreed to be a Death Eater, and then when things got really bad and he wanted to get out, he couldn't because he was too deep. I think part of the reason he joined is because he is selfish and he wants people to follow him. I think Draco is the same. They're addicted to power, but they're both spineless and cowardly when it really comes down to it. (I love Draco, though, so... :P)
I see that this writing style (with no dialogue) is new to you. I think that it reads almost like a tale. It has an old-fashioned sort of vibe to it, which is cool, because it suits Lucius's personality and his ideals (which are also old-fashioned and built upon tradition). I do think it would have been cool to see Lucius try to talk himself out of a situation, mostly because I like to see him squirm (hehe). The bit at the end where you mention how his story was "distorted to fit the narrative that anything opposing the great Harry Potter's version of events was inherently wrong" was really interesting, though I wonder if it's too... straightforward? Explicit? Does that make sense? Although... it does fit the style of the piece, because it's almost like a moral at the end of a fairy tale, so it does seem fitting. :)
Thanks for entering the challenge! I enjoyed reading this story.
Hey, Madi! Review incoming!
Personally, though I do admit he loved his family, I don't think I could ever see him as only going along with it to protect Draco and Narcissa, and I still see him as closer to evil than neutral. This may possibly be hypocritical considering that I advocate for Snape as a more neutral figure even though he participated in what Lucius did, but I feel like Snape had more events that tilted the scales in his favor against Voldemort than Lucius did, even with things that Snape didn't really have to do. There's so many people in the world who would use the excuse "I did it for my family/friends", but they could have gone different ways. There are plenty of people who are good to certain individules, but are absolutly horrible to others they see as infirior. I've known people, even had family members, who fell under that, and they still did far less than Lucius did.
However, I do thing it's great to show characters in a multi-deminsional light. I think a lot of times people are uncomfortable thinking about just how close they are to people they think of as evil. They want to imagine them as someone as remote as possible from themselves. That's why you have so many people who are steadfast in the belief that anyone who commits crimes like, to use a recent hot topic, mass shootings HAS to have SOMETHING wrong with them. They're mentally ill. Autistic. Victims themselves from some horrible circimstance that broke them. Often, they're not, though they can be. Those that do horrible things can seem like a normal person. The neighbor down the street who you always see walking his dogs. Who drops his youngest child off at daycare. Who is involved in school activities for his oldest. They can love their family, have friends, work a job, etc, but at the end of the day, one area in their life became so currupted by pure hate and bitterness they still commited these horrible actions, and the truth is there doesn't have to be something else "wrong" about it that anyone else on this earth can't find themselves possessing if some event turns the wrong way for them.
People are so complex with so many different sides, and sometimes no one person sees all of them. They're revealed at different times to different people in different circimstances, but all are in some form a true part of that person. I think Lucius truely loves his family. I think what happened in the books when they were brought into danger truely scared and hurt him, and that may have later in life shifted his views. But the Lucius before that shift may or may not have occured still harbored that hate due to believing himself and other pureblood families better than others, and not out of force. I think it's a situation we see now, where he's lived his entire life in a bubble of privledge, and couldn't comprehend anything else. Only staying in the approved social circles. Only having the best lifestyle. Having power others would never get close to, and being unable to put himselves in the shoes of those underneath him.
I think you did well on the no dialogue thing. Honestly that's my favorite writting style, because dialogue is my weakness, and I also love reading it. It can get some good insights into what characters won't say, and often has more focus on a single person or moment that you could otherwise get across, which is the main strength of the style. Despite not agreeing he was this way in canon, I still enjoyed the read, and I think it fit the challenge well.
Anyway, good job with the fic, and have a happy New Year!!!
Apologies for taking so long to get to this review, I really have no excuse other than that I am bad at staying on top of this. :P
First of all, you discuss a very important topic to todays issues in your review, and make some excellent points, which I appreciate and agree with. I don't think Lucius is a better person than Snape (who I'm generally not a fan of) but it was just a cool exercise to try and dive into his psyche and see how he might frame the horrors he's doing to make himself feel like he's "doing the right thing" whether it be for his family or for his beliefs or for where his money takes him.
I'm so glad you liked the no dialogue writing style -- this was my first time ever doing something in this style, and it came about by complete accident! Lucius seems the type to have a (self-important) monologue running through his head at all times anyway, so it worked out quite well, I think. Thank you so much for the commentary and for leaving such a long review!
Hi Madi! Stopping by to say Happy Holidays and to leave you a review.
Was this one of the things you wrote during NaNo? It was a very interesting concept. Lucius is a tough character to write and still make empathetic, given his rather genocidal actions. It was really interesting to see the way he justified everything he did in his head. He was respectful to Narcissa and her family in the early stages of their relationship, deferred to his father, etc. He must have felt like he had earned things only to have it all get ruined by Narcissa’s hyperemesis (and other complications?) and secondary infertility. Him rationalizing his actions through the struggles, even though they weren’t anything more than the other characters we see, seems very him. When you are used to having everything, not being able to have something you want so badly must feel like something you are completely unprepared for. Even by the end, he is still trying so hard to rationalize his actions that I feel like he truly believes it, like other people who have been tried for war crimes.
I think you did a good job at telling the story, even without dialogue. I think it worked because we got so many of Lucius’s thoughts and his reasoning for his actions, just in his head instead of in conversations with other characters. As somebody who tend all to default to dialogue in a lot of situations though, kudos on trying something new.
This was more thought provoking than I expected it to be! Good job :)
This was a fic I wrote during NaNo, and so editing did not occur (not like it does normally, but typically with challenge entries I try to go over them before submitting, but I believe I ran right up to the deadline with this one, oops). You really hit the nail on the head with your description of how it is writing Lucius! He's very much an antagonist in Harry's story, but obviously in his own story (to a point) he believes he's just doing what is best for his family, their lives, and staying alive is especially key to everything. Writing without the dialogue was actually not originally my intention, but it worked out that way, and I'm so glad you thought it worked for this type of storytelling, and that it ended up being thought provoking for you!
Thank you for the review. :)
Hey, Madi... here for your Wish List request.
This story was different for me without the dialogue. Not a bad different, for the story qripped my attention. Sometimes, you just don't need the 'spoken' word to get your message across, right?
I've never had much love for Lucius (his actor, yes! lol). His treatment of Dobby being the most telling factor of his personality. He wasn't a nice man/wizard to those out of his extremely small circle.
And that circle was golden and it encircled Narcissa and Draco and the few others.
I agree with your characterization that Lucius didn't think of himself as an evil man. Sure, he'd done all those evil things, followed that (much more) evil man and was able to wile himself out of a long prison term/Dementors' Kiss. In that he was a cunning and crafty Slytherin.
So, I think you're pretty spot on in your characterizations of Lucius and Narcissa. All he did was for his family, and for his family name. He tried to instill that into Draco, but ultimately in ways he failed.
This was a very well thought out and written story, Madi.
Apologies on the lateness of getting to this review, I'm terrible at responding to them in a timely manner... At any rate, thank you so much for reviewing this! This was my first try at doing no dialogue in a story, so it's definitely not my best, but I'm happy you were still able to perceive Lucius's inner monologue and that I captured his character decently enough. He's a slippery fellow, even though he's basely rather snotty and evil, but I was really pushing for the doing everything for his family angle HARD. I know some people are just that base evil, but he's a man with a rather weak spine (as we see in Deathly Hallows) so I felt he had more to him than just being mindlessly evil -- he wasn't a Slytherin Prefect for nothing, and didn't survive under Voldemort's watchful eye for that long without using that head on his shoulders for good use. I'm so happy you liked this story, even though you're not a fan of Lucius (it's okay, I'm not either, but he's fun to write!) and that I got the rest of the Malfoy famiiy reasonably well too. Thanks again for the review! :)